My dear friend Ven. Sayadaw U. Nyaninda passed away

Today, I am sad to learn that my dear friend of many decades, Ven. Sayadaw U. Nyaninda, passed away in Yangon, Myanmar. Although he served in the most esteemed position of abbot of the Myanmar Vihara Temple in Bodhgaya, India, to the local community and to countless overseas visitors he was simply known as Bhante-ji.

With his accomplished composure, Bhante-ji also managed the monastery’s ever-popular Myanmar (Burmese) Vihara Guesthouse. Day after day he often sat close to the entrance to the monastery’s leafy compound. Always calm, collected, and casual, he keenly observed, skillfully supervised, or merely let life’s daily activities unfold, particularly the endless arrival of weary travelers and Burmese pilgrims. Evenings, a small flock of friends and visitors would gather around him to share in his mirth and seek his wise counsel. Likewise, during my annual pilgrimages to Bodhgaya, Bhante-ji and I always found time to sit together, enjoy tea, laugh, and share Dharma stories.


Beyond his simplicity, Ven. Sayadaw U. Nyaninda was an enabler. Providing comfortable lodging for many thousands from his homeland, he enabled countless pilgrims to earn tremendous merit worshiping beneath the Tree of Enlightenment. Decade after decade, he graciously welcomed and housed many dozens of American students participating in the yearly Antioch Buddhist Studies Program. In this way, he enabled newcomers to dive deep into their study of Lord Buddha’s teachings.

Who else did he enable? Without the slightest fanfare, he tirelessly put all the Buddhist ideals into practice. He helped feed the hungry, educate the poor, and establish places of worship, Buddhist monasteries, and schools throughout India.


Moreover, as president of the International Tipitaka Chanting Council, Ven. Sayadaw U. Nyaninda united representatives of all Buddhist traditions in the praiseworthy effort to preserve the Pali Tipitaka. His untimely passing is indeed a great loss not only to the far-reaching Dharma community, but to all those whose heart he touched along way. Let us pray that all his projects and vast aspirations for the benefit of beings will be swiftly fulfilled.
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